Mamet’s ‘Race’ a No-Brainer for the Playhouse

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May 15th, 2014

Omaha, NE — A fast-paced legal drama takes the stage at the Omaha Playhouse.

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RACE_2The Omaha Playhouse’s production of Race by David Mamet has presented the theatre with many distinct challenges.

One the most most prolific playwrights of the past few decades, Mamet’s work has actually never been performed at the Playhouse. The show’s director, Dr. Amy Lane, said that this play was a no-brainer for the theatre.

“I think it’s his best play in a decade and it perfectly fit our ‘Find Your Stage’ program,” Lane said. “It’s provocative, it’s exciting, it’s a fast-paced legal drama. We all unanimously chose it and we’re really excited to introduce David Mamet’s work to the Playhouse audience.”

Set in the law office of Lawson and Brown, a wealthy white business man walks into the law firm. He has been accused of a violent crime against an african american woman. The wealthy business man chooses the law firm because of it’s two lead partners. One is white and one is black.

“The play is really about whether or not the lawyers are going to take this case,” Lane said. “How are they doing to defend this case? Especially in light of prejudices that we all hold. The lawyers recognize that the jury is going to walk in with prejudices. So how do we get around those to objectively look at facts of the case. I think the play really explores that it isn’t even possible.”

The subject of race isn’t the only issue discussed in the play. The show touches on gender politics, wealth, economics, guilt, and shame. In typical Mamet fashion, the play takes on several hot button topics that confront not only the characters in the show, but audience watching it as well.

With a title like Race, Lane thought she knew what she was getting into before she read the play, but she soon realized that this show is nothing like she thought.

“From the very first lines of the play, Mamet has one of his characters just destroy any assumptions that you are going to have. Saying ‘All of this. You think we’re going to have a discussion about race? No. Not in any way you think we’re going to.’ It stays ten steps ahead of the audience all the way throughout. That’s what I loved the most about it. It was always exciting and looked at these issues in a new way,” said Lane.

In the end, Lane said that everyone will have a different opinion on who they think is guilty in the play.

“Mamet has written the plot very cleverly,” she said. “He brings up all the questions, but he gives you no answers.”

Race by David Mamet, runs now through June 8th at the Howard Drew Theatre of the Omaha Community Playhouse. For more information, call 402-553-0800 or visit www.omahaplayhouse.com.

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